A couple of weeks ago I headed over to the National Building Museum to hear speakers from HUD, FEMA, and the private sector as part of the museum's Community in the Aftermath series. The topic was the latest efforts of the federal Alternative Housing Pilot Program to rebuild the Mississippi housing stock destroyed in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. (Who would have guessed back in the star-crossed summer of 2005 that the Gulf Coast would soon be faced with another massive environmental disaster?)
Part of the presentation focused on two on-the-boards projects: The Cottages at Second Street in Pass Christian, Miss., and The Cottages at Oak Park in Ocean Springs, Miss. For residential architect's 2007 special issue on post-Katrina and Rita rebuilding, I traveled to the Gulf Coast, and Ocean Springs was one of the places I visited. In fact, I toured a then-under-construction community called Cottage Square, which adjoins the mobile home park that The Cottages at Oak Park are slated to replace. (Thanks to architect Bruce Tolar for taking me to see Cottage Square; click here to read our 2007 story on this and other Gulf Coast cottage projects.)
The two new communities, also designed by Tolar, will contain a total of 75 eco-friendly, traditionally-styled rental cottages. "18 will be available to families at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI)," said development team member Adam Dial. "57 will be available to families at or below 120 percent of the AMI." He continued, "These are targeted at families, seniors, and employees of small businesses in the downtown areas. There is a tremendous need [along the Gulf Coast] for long-term rental housing."--m.d.